Local Authority Discretionary Grant Fund

The Discretionary Grant Fund supports small and micro businesses that are not eligible for other grant schemes.

Small and micro businesses with fixed property costs that are not eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund may be eligible for the Discretionary Grants Scheme.

What you get

You can get a grant of £25,000, £10,000 or any amount under £10,000.

Eligibility

You may be eligible if your business:

  • is based in England
  • has relatively high ongoing fixed property-related costs
  • occupies property (or part of a property) with a rateable value or annual mortgage/rent payments below £51,000
  • was trading on 11 March 2020

You will need to show that your business has suffered a significant fall in income due to coronavirus.

We’ve asked local councils to prioritise businesses such as:

  • small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces, such as units in industrial parks or incubators
  • regular market traders
  • bed and breakfasts paying council tax instead of business rates
  • charity properties getting charitable business rates relief, which are not eligible for small business rates relief or rural rate relief

Local councils have discretion about how to prioritise this funding. Please check with your council for details of their scheme.

You cannot apply if your business is in administration, insolvent or has received a striking-off notice.

If you’re already claiming funding

You cannot apply if you’re already claiming under another government grant scheme, such as:

  • Small Business Grant Fund
  • Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant
  • Fisheries Response Fund
  • Domestic Seafood Supply Scheme
  • Zoos Support Fund
  • Dairy Hardship Fund

You’re still eligible if you’ve applied for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme or the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.

Businesses that apply for the discretionary grants scheme can still apply for coronavirus-related loans if they’re eligible.

If you already get state aid

The discretionary grants fund counts towards state aid.

Payments of £10,000 or less count towards the total de minimis state aid you’re allowed to get over a 3 year period – €200,000. If you have reached that threshold, you may still be eligible for funding under the COVID-19 Temporary Framework.

Payments of £25,000 count as state aid under the COVID-19 Temporary Framework. The limit for the framework is €800,000.

Your local council will ask you to complete a declaration confirming that:

  • you will not exceed the relevant state aid threshold
  • you were not an ‘undertaking in difficulty’ on 31 December 2019. This applies only to the COVID-19 Temporary Framework

How to apply

Visit your local council’s website to find out how to apply:

Find the website for your local council.

What happens next

Your local council will run an application process and decide whether to offer you a grant.

You do not have to pay the grant back but it will be taxable. Only businesses which make an overall profit once grant income is included will be subject to tax.

4 Steps to Starting a Small Business

Many people are thinking of starting a business for the first time.

Apart from joining My Business Support (run by people involved in small businesses), here are some other tips.

  1. Do your research, is there a need for what you would do?
  2. Work out the financials – how will you survive at the start?
  3. How will you market your business?
  4. Put a plan together.

Stores and Shopping centres to reopen safely in England

High street retailers and department stores, including book shops, electronics retailers, tailors, auction houses, photography studios, indoor markets, and shops selling clothes, shoes and toys, will be allowed to open their doors again provided they follow the COVID-19 secure guidelines set out by the government in May.

Retailers will need to take certain steps to protect customers and staff, including limiting the number of customers allowed inside at one time, placing protective coverings on large items such as sofas which may be touched by passing shoppers, and frequently checking and cleaning objects and surfaces.

Employers should also display a notice visibly in their shop windows or outside their store to show their employees, customers and other visitors that they have followed this guidance.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said:

Shops, department stores and shopping centres that have been closed since March will be able to reopen from Monday 15 June, provided they put in place the necessary steps to keep their workers and customers safe. This is the latest step in the careful restarting of the economy and will enable high streets up and down the country to spring back to life.

I would like to thank workers at supermarkets, pharmacies, post offices and other essential retailers who have introduced social distancing to keep the public and their staff safe. Now is the time to apply these principles to even more shops to allow workers safely back into stores and welcome back shoppers, as we look to get the economy going again.

Read the government guidance on the regulations governing which businesses can, and cannot, remain open

Businesses should only reopen once they have completed a risk assessment, in consultation with trade union representatives or workers, and are confident they are managing the risks. They must have taken the necessary steps to become COVID-19 secure in line with current Health and Safety legislation

Hairdressers, nail bars and beauty salons, and the hospitality sector remain closed, because the risk of transmission in these environments is higher where long periods of person to person contact is required

There are 8 workplace guidance documents now available under Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance

Working groups to help unleash Britain’s growth potential

Business Secretary Alok Sharma is creating 5 new business-focused groups to unleash Britain’s growth potential and create jobs, as part of the government’s plans to help the economy bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic.

Beginning this week, Mr Sharma will chair the first meetings of new ‘recovery roundtables’ bringing together businesses, business representative groups and leading academics. They will consider measures to support economic recovery and ensure we have the right skills and opportunities in place for our workforce over the next 18 months.

They will also explore key domestic and global challenges to support a green and resilient recovery and ensure the UK is at the forefront of new and emerging industries.

Focused on 5 key themes, each group will explore how business can work with government to deliver economic growth and jobs:

  • The future of industry: How to accelerate business innovation and leverage private sector investment in research and development
  • Green recovery: How to capture economic growth opportunities from the shift to net zero carbon emissions
  • Backing new businesses: How to make the UK the best place in the world to start and scale a business
  • Increasing opportunity: How to level up economic performance across the UK, including through skills and apprenticeships
  • The UK open for business: How to win and retain more high value investment for the UK

This initiative builds on the close engagement between the UK’s business community, the Business Department and across Whitehall as we have responded to the pandemic.

This includes 5 new ministerial-led taskforces to develop further plans for how and when closed sectors can safely reopen, following the publication of the Prime Minister’s roadmap out of lockdown.

Secretary of State for Business Alok Sharma commented:

“These roundtables are a redoubling of our efforts to listen to and work with the business community and academic experts as we consider the measures needed to support our economic bounce-back. This will undoubtedly lead to a cleaner, greener, more resilient economy which will create new jobs.”

“The output from this initiative will feed directly into the government’s work on economic recovery and will help deliver the commitments we made to the British people only last December, which now take on an even greater sense of urgency and importance.”

The membership of the 5 working groups will be published in due course.

Each working group, which aims to be representative of UK industry, will consist of approximately 20-25 participants and will be chaired by BEIS Secretary of State Alok Sharma.

There will also be an opportunity for other parties and individuals interested in this initiative to share written submissions with the Business Department.

What strange and wonderful things are we all buying in Lockdown?

There have been so many great insightful posts during the lockdown and I wanted to make my contribution……via my Amazon account.

In the past 2 months, I have purchased the following…..

1.       Coal Shovel £2.80 – I am not sure how I was persuaded of the need for this…. A stick should be all you need with a firepit and far more fun.

2.       50 Food containers £10.99 – slightly smaller at 400ml which enables better utilisation of freezer space. Only 5 have been used so far! What is interesting is that we have be having family meals twice a day….so no need for them. But I remain hopeful of the long-term benefits.

3.       100 Disposable gloves £14.99 (rip-off!) – Obvious choice really…a peace of mind purchase.

4.       External mic for the laptop £15.99 – One gets very worried when hosting on Zoom with 20 others, and someone says ‘Simon you are very muffled’…. I threw dollars at the problem…

5.       Fusible iron-on interfacing £1.99 – This apparently is key component for making/sewing a bucket hat! (daughter project)

6.       Printer ink £13.98 (not to mention the depleted stocks!) – It is so easy for teachers to send out 30-page old exam papers as isolation schoolwork.

7.       New Peter Crouch Book £6.47 (birthday present son) highly recommend if you like football and have a sense of humour

8.       6 blow up beach-balls £13.98 – If we are out of lockdown before the end of summer, I am determined to run my seminar in the park. The beach balls will be an essential ingredient. If you are as excited as I am let me know, and I will send you an invitation.

9.       X-Box controller thumb-grips £4.49 – This surely is THE lockdown essential purchase. Over-use can cause smoothening of the control sticks…apparently

If you think this is all a bit frivolous, you are probably right. But sometimes it is good to stop and think about what customers want or need in different times and as circumstances change, rather than just focus on what you have to sell. Thinking about strategy and the future is just one of the ways we help businesses.

Simon Palmer is a Business Mentor, working with Small and Medium sized businesses. Contact for a complementary discussion around your business. Simon@UKBusinessMentoring.co.uk

Trade Credit Insurance backed by £10 billion guarantee

Trade Credit Insurance, which provides essential cover to hundreds of thousands of business-to-business transactions, will receive up to £10 billion of government guarantees, ministers announced today.

The Trade Credit Reinsurance scheme, which has been agreed following extensive discussions with the insurance sector, will see the vast majority of Trade Credit Insurance coverage maintained across the UK.

The guarantees will support supply chains and help businesses during the coronavirus pandemic to trade with confidence, safe in the knowledge that they will be protected if a customer defaults or delays on payment.

Business Secretary of State Alok Sharma said:

Trade Credit Insurance is a daily necessity for hundreds of thousands of businesses across the UK – particularly those in non-service sectors such as the manufacturing and construction sectors.

Our £10 billion guarantee gives peace of mind to businesses, allowing them to continue to trade and maintaining liquidity in supply chains. This reinsurance scheme is an important step as we carefully set about firing up our economy as we emerge from the pandemic.

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury, John Glen said:

Billions of pounds of business turnover is supported by Trade Credit Insurance each year. This reinsurance scheme will see the government and insurers working closely together to ensure that the vast majority of this cover remains in place. This means that businesses and supply chains can continue to be protected at this pivotal time as we begin to kick start the economy.

BCC Director General Adam Marshall said:

The government has demonstrated once again that it is listening to the concerns of our business communities.

The launch of a government-backed guarantee to support the provision of trade credit insurance will help ensure that this vital lifeline remains available to businesses during and after this crisis, helping to maintain supply chains and trade.

Stephen Phipson, CEO of Make UK, said:

For most manufacturers, credit insurance is essential – giving them certainty that they will be paid for the orders they deliver. We’re pleased that the government has taken action to jump-start the credit insurance market – which will provide a welcome boost to our nation’s makers as they recover from the COVID crisis.

IoD Head of Europe and Trade Policy Allie Renison said:

These measures are a lifeline for many businesses with nowhere else to turn. To help the economy get up and running again, maintaining confidence in supply chains is crucial, and we are encouraged to see this come as the product of collaboration between government and industry.

CBI Director of Financial Services, Flora Hamilton said:

The new government guarantee to backstop trade credit insurance will be welcome by businesses across the UK. The TCI scheme will support supply chains, enable many to prepare for restart in earnest and bring employees off the job retention scheme and back into work.

This is a very critical step, along with other government financial support, in driving the recovery of the UK.

The scheme is available on a temporary basis for nine months, backdated to 1 April 2020, and running until 31 December 2020, with the potential for extension if required.

The scheme will be followed by a joint BEIS/HMT-led review of the Trade Credit Insurance market to ensure it can continue to support businesses in future.

Who pays me if I go back to work part-time?

The Treasury says your employer is responsible for paying your wages for the time you’re working. It will also decide the hours and shift patterns you’ll work when you go back.

If you work a 40-hour week, for example, and your employer wants to, it can get you to work 39 hours and then furlough you for the remaining hour. The amount of time you work each week can also vary over the month, with employers varying it week by week.

When you are working, you should be paid your normal wage for those hours. For the hours you’re not working, you’ll be covered by furlough pay, so you’ll get at least 80% of your normal wage. Let’s run through an example of how work and furlough pay could interact:

Let’s assume you work a 40-hour week, and you earn £1,000 a month for that. On furlough, you don’t work and you get £800 a month.

Yet if you went back to work for 10 hours a week, that’s a quarter of your normal working time, so you’d earn £250 a month for the work you do. Yet you’re still furloughed for 30 hours a week, so you get three quarters of your monthly furlough pay – that’s £600.

Adding it up, you’d get a total of £850 a month working those 10 hours, compared with £800 on full furlough.

The Treasury told us that HM Revenue & Customs will announce more details of how the furlough scheme interacts with work on Friday 12th June.

For more great advice from Money Saving Expert Martin lewis CLICK HERE

SEISS Webinars

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) has been introduced to help the self-employed (including members of business partnerships) through this period of disruption.

The scheme has now been extended for those individuals whose trade continues to be, or is newly, adversely affected by COVID-19. Eligible people will be able to claim in August. More information about the second grant, including how to claim, will be published in due course.

To find out more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), join one of our webinars which takes you through the aim of the scheme, who can apply, how much you may be entitled to, how to apply for the first grant and what happens after you’ve applied.

Demand for this webinar has been exceptional, so we’ve added even more dates for our customers. To avoid disappointment, please click the link below.

Choose a date and time

You can ask questions during this interactive webinar using the on-screen text box.

We’ll endeavour to bring you the most up-to-date information to keep you fully informed of changes as they develop.

Get help. Protect your business. Save jobs.

Covid-19 Support Group

Since 23 March 2020, the UK government has been offering financial support to British industry to assist businesses sideswiped by the coronavirus outbreak. This has been followed by additional advice for those who are self-employed.

One of the support programmes rolled out by the government is the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) which allows self-employed business owners the opportunity to take temporary leave, paid by the government, because of the coronavirus outbreak. But there are pros and cons for those wishing to take up this scheme. This group has been created to offer support to self-employed workers, small business owners and freelancers and to create a community that looks out for each other.

Dan Brent, who runs MBS Kent, is an Independent Financial Adviser and is offering free guidance on entitlement and weathering the Financial storm of COVID-19. Kim Brent is a virtual PA, understanding the challenges of running a small business and working from home with young children, whilst providing a continued service to clients.

Dan will answer any money worry questions that you have. If you are not comfortable asking a question by posting in the group you can message Dan or Kim and we will get back to you. We will share articles and links that we think are useful as well. Let’s support each other – we all need it.

To join the group on Facebook CLICK HERE

Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Government has issued guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic.

These 8 guides cover a range of different types of work. Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles. You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep people safe. Further guidance will be published as more businesses are able to reopen.

There is different guidance for educational and childcare settings and public transport operators.

You must not reopen if your business is closed under current government rules. Check if your business or venue can open.

  1. 5 steps to working safely
    Practical actions for businesses to take based on 5 main steps.
  2. Construction and other outdoor work
    Guidance for people who work in or run outdoor working environments.
  3. Factories, plants and warehouses
    Guidance for people who work in or run factories, plants and warehouses.
  4. Labs and research facilities
    Guidance for people who work in or run indoor labs and research facilities and similar environments.
  5. Offices and contact centres
    Guidance for people who work in or run offices, contact centres and similar indoor environments.
  6. Other people’s homes
    Guidance for people working in, visiting or delivering to other people’s homes.
  7. Restaurants offering takeaway or delivery
    Guidance for people who work in or run restaurants offering takeaway or delivery services.
  8. Shops and branches
    Guidance for people who work in or run shops, branches, stores or similar environments. 
  9. Vehicles
    Guidance for people who work in or from vehicles, including couriers, mobile workers, lorry drivers, on-site transit and work vehicles, field forces and similar.

There is different guidance for educational and childcare settings and public transport operators.